I love the freedom of working for myself! Freedom has always been something that is SO important to me, and the notion of a 9-5 and having to ask permission to take a vacation – well, it never sat well with me! - Alison Andrews, SBI! member since 2009

Do What You Love, Love What You Do, Episode 3: Vegan Coaching and Cooking (An SBI! Success Story)

Do What You Love, Love What You Do, Episode 3: Vegan Coaching and Cooking  (An SBI! Success Story)

By Patty “Sassy” Knutson, vegancoach.com

Tell us about your website, www.vegancoach.com. When and why did you start your site?

I started VeganCoach.com in February 2007.  At the time I ran a Personal Chef and Nutritional Consultant service.  And I loved it!

But there were a couple downfalls too.  If I wasn’t out there working, I didn’t make a paycheck.  Sounds silly, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that there were only so many hours in my day, and this meant a limit to my income.  Also, hubby Jeff (as a musician) traveled occasionally for gigs and I always went along.  I wanted a business that I could take with me wherever I went.

After some research, I found SBI and it seemed to be the answer.  I got started, worked overtime to get my website up and running, and was very happy when the income began because it was at that point I knew this idea could work for me.

Are you working full-time or part-time on building your website / online business?

More than full time. 😉

I started out working more than full time to give my website the push it needed.  Then I moved closer to part time hours for a couple years.

But there comes a time when you realize you have a full-fledged business on your hands!  I realized just how much I want (and need!) to do to move my business forward, and now I’m working more than full time again!

Most people think running a website is easy and requires little effort.  I work harder than many people I know who work outside of the home.  There is always just so much to do!   I could work 24 hours a day every day and still not get it all done.

That’s when you realize you need to figure out the office hours that work for you and to also set some boundaries.  Having an office with a door you can close helps!

One of my goals in 2015 is to find a nice work/life balance.  It’s really so important. And I have discovered that the downtime helps to keep me jazzed and focused during the uptime.

So far, what has been the biggest challenge for you?

Coming to terms with the fact that you have to stay on top of what’s going on in the world of the search engines and what they want, and balancing that with staying on top of what’s going on in the world of my website audience.  I have really been surprised with how much changes in the online world from year to year.  It’s not anything I even considered when I first started out.

Fortunately, SBI helps keep us up-to-date on what we need to turn our attention to technically – it’s very important to read SiteSell’s newsletters!  Of course, it’s up to me to stay on top of what my website peeps need which has changed over the years and will likely continue to change as we all learn and grow.

What do you enjoy most about being an online business owner?

It is one of the highest forms of creativity.  I get an idea, and I can make plans to implement it.  I have complete control over all aspects of my website.  I have never liked working for others because I don’t like to be told what to do, so working for myself is critical to my happiness!

One challenge I have, though, is that I can get too many ideas!   So I have learned to keep lists – I have one main list of current and future projects, and another list where I break the projects up into what needs to be done and when.  I have a whiteboard on my office wall where I keep track of daily things-to-do which can be easily added to, crossed off, erased, and updated.  Staying organized is critical to this business.

But perhaps one of the biggest joys for me is interacting with my website visitors, whether through personal contact or via Social Media.  I am so lucky to not only have built my website around a topic I love and live every day, but to be surrounded by others on the same path who are so cool and smart and funny.  I just love them.

Has your life changed since you started your site? Can you describe these changes for us?

Well, first and foremost it has given me the freedom and lifestyle I not only want but that I personally need.  My personality requires perfectionism and fun all rolled into one.  My website hits both of these requirements square on.

Running my own online business has also helped me to take more responsibility for my life and my finances – I have had to grow up (!) which threw me for a loop because I am quite spirited and have always lived as a creative dreamer with my head in the clouds.

Hubby Jeff has been able to leave the crazy (and taxing!) life of a musician behind and has joined me in the business of running the website.  This is now our family business and our main source of income.

I should mention that working together was a challenge at first since we are both pretty certain we have all the answers.  But over time we have learned that we each have our own strengths and weaknesses, and we have now fostered an atmosphere of cooperation instead of competition.  We love working together and it has actually brought us far closer to each other, and I didn’t think that was possible.

Why did you choose SBI! to build your website / online business?

I chose SBI because it provided the answer to the question of how to best succeed in running a website.

But I have stayed with SBI because I can’t imagine trying to do this without them.  Ken Evoy, the founder of SBI, is very active in the forums and it is exceedingly clear that he cares about us and our successes.  That means a lot to me.

There are so many people out there who think it’s so simple to start and run a website because there are so many products and services that make it easy to get up and running.  But then what?  I mean, anybody can start a website!  But you really need to have some guidance so you know what the heck you’re doing.

I love that SBI has a system that teaches newbies how to not only get started, but what you need to know for the long term to make your site a success.

I really can’t imagine doing this without SBI – and that’s a fact.

What one piece of advice would you give someone who is just getting started in the online business world?

Choose a topic that you love and that you enjoy.  Too many people start websites because they feel the topic will make them money, but then they get bored and work on it less and less until the whole thing dries up on them.

When you choose a topic that really resonates with you, and that is a real part of your life that you can speak to from experience, you will never run out of things to talk about.  As you learn and grow in your topic, you can share this with your audience who appreciates it because it can help with their learning curve.  As an added bonus, if you choose to teach about a topic you basically live and breathe, just about everything you buy can be a write-off!

Editor’s Note: Thank you Sassy for sharing your “do what you love, love what you do” SBI! review. I find it amazing how you managed to combine your creative “head in the clouds” spirit with solid business skills to create the perfect lifestyle for you and your husband.

 

Inspired to start your own online business? SBI! provides all you need: process, tools, guidance and support.

Articles in this series:
Episode 1: Homemade Gifts 
Episode 2: Connecting The Dots
Episode 3: Vegan Coaching and Cooking (You are here)
Episode 4: Loving My Fire
Episode 5: Being Excited Each Day

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Scan the wide variety of solopreneurs who are winning in real niches. Use it to get a feeling for what SBIers do, as well as to generate ideas. What do you know? Turn it into a business.

Patty “Sassy” Knutson
Patty “Sassy” Knutson is a Vegan Coach, Nutritional Consultant, and self-taught Vegan Chef. www.VeganCoach.com was created to marry these loves, along with over two decades of vegan experience, by teaching her fellow Vegans the secret to easy cooking without recipes and the basics of balanced everyday nutrition. She lives in Reno, NV, with the love of her life, business partner, and bestie Jeff - and her laptop Pinky Tuscadero.
  • Congrats to you Sassy.

  • Rachel Bruner

    Sassy, you always rock!! I’ve been a fan-girl of yours since I first saw your website back in 2012. Loved reading your fabulous story!

  • Hi Sassy, I really enjoyed reading your story. I love what you said about “It is one of the highest forms of creativity. I get an idea, and I can make plans to implement it.” I totally agree!

  • Inspiring story love your message, wishing you continued success on your journey…

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